Track & Field Opens Outdoor Season at VCU Invitational


Links: Full Results

RICHMOND, Va. – Highlighted by five individuals qualifying for the New England Championships and a dominant showing in the men's 100m, the Merrimack College men's and women's track & field teams opened the outdoor season impressive fashion Saturday, competing at the VCU Invitational in Richmond, Va.

The Basics
VCU Invitational
Top Performances:
Taylor Jean-Gilles (100m); Denzel Livingston (LJ); John Spencer (100m H); Olivia Downey (400m); Christine Manfra (400m H)
Team Standings:
Men (8th/12) | Women (8th/10)
Location: Sportsbackers Stadium | Richmond, Va.

How It Happened
After wrapping up the most impressive indoor season to date for both the men and women's sides, Merrimack showed no rust in making the switch to the outdoor season on Saturday, as five Warriors already qualified for New England's and 19 individuals/relay teams posted top-eight finishes.

Even more impressively, Merrimack's performances on Saturday were some of the best marks in the Northeast-10 Conference; in total, the team now occupies top marks in 11 separate events in the league, including the top-four marks in the 100m race.

On the men's side, sophomores Taylor Jean-Gilles (Woburn, Mass.) and Denzel Livingston (Billerica, Mass.), as well as John Spencer (North Haven, Conn.) each qualified for New England's in separate events; Jean-Gilles did so in the 100m, while Spencer qualified in the 100m hurdles, and Livingston placed second in the long jump to qualify for New England's.

On the women's side, freshman Olivia Downey (Melrose, Mass.) placed eighth in the 400m and qualified for New England's in the process, while junior Christine Manfra (Stoneham, Mass.) accomplished that feat in the 400m hurdles.

Competing against mainly Division I competition, the Warriors fared quite well in the team standings and were the top Division II finishers on both the men's and women's side. The men placed 8th out of 12 teams while the women ranked eighth out of 10.

Top Finishes
2ndJohn Braga (HJ), Denzel Livingston (LJ), Kristin Schmidt (5K), Tommy Drover (Javelin)
3rd - Kelsey Grimmer (Steeple)
4th - John Braga (LJ), Kerry (5K), Evan Vadenais (5K), Briana Devereaux (1500), Sarah Barnett
6th - Colleen (5K), Emily Mauro (PV), Ashley Wright (Javelin)
7th - Women's 4x100, Luis Cruz (1500)
8th - Sherif Ali (5K), Olivia Downey (400), Sarah May (PV)

Up Next
The Warriors return to action next Saturday (March 29), when they continue the outdoor season at the Tufts University Invitational.


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